Letchworth school pupils ‘returning home tonight’ following Italy coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 11:20 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:42 13 March 2020

The Prato Nevoso resort in northern Italy where Fearnhill pupils and staff are stranded. Picture: Google Street View

The Prato Nevoso resort in northern Italy where Fearnhill pupils and staff are stranded. Picture: Google Street View

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Fearnhill School in Letchworth has this morning released a statement confirming that pupils and staff stranded in northern Italy will be returning home tonight, following the news that the whole of Italy is now in lockdown.

On Sunday, Fearnhill pupils and staff travelled to the Prato Nevoso resort, in the Piedmont region, for a week-long ski trip after receiving reassurances from Public Health England that it was safe to travel to the area.

In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson for the school said: 'Fearnhill continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly changing situation with the coronavirus outbreak.

'I can confirm that our students currently in Prato Nevoso, Northern Italy, will be returning home tonight in light of last night's updated government guidance from Italy. Upon their return, both the students and teachers will be following Public Health England guidance and self-isolating for 14 days as a precautionary measure.

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'During this time we will be providing online learning resources so students don't lose out on study time. We, in line with all other schools in England, continue to monitor the situation with coronavirus very closely and are working with Hertfordshire County Council and Public Health England to ensure we are following the best and most recent advice to safeguard our students and staff.'

Yesterday afternoon it was announced that all Italian ski resorts would be closed following the escalating coronavirus crisis - including the Prato Nevoso resort where Fearnhill pupils and staff had arrived only a day earlier.

By 10pm yesterday evening, the Italian Prime Minister had announced a lockdown of the entire country, banning all but essential travel - as coronavirus cases in Italy shot up to 9,172 cases, with 463 deaths.

The Foreign Office has confirmed, however, that British nationals are able to depart Italy without restriction, and that airports remain open throughout the country.

Updates to follow.

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